Monday, September 30, 2013

Why did I leave my home country?

Your (pudgy) author in Bermuda
(If you think the contrast is bad, you should
have seen it before I started fixing it)
Over on the Franco-American flophouse blogs, Victoria Ferauge explores ideas about why some people leave their home country. It's a beautiful read and I highly recommend it, but I must admit that my motivations are different from what is explored there.

There are both push and pull factors to immigration. Push factors are prevalent and in some cases are as severe as war or famine. For Victoria's case, she refers to "Casting Errors" (what a lovely title) where we're born in a country where we just don't fit. I meet this a lot over here in Europe: many Americans are just tired of what's happening back "home". The poisonous politics, the idiocy over the health care "debate", the Christian Right trying to force their extremist beliefs into law, and so on.

On the other hand, I meet Europeans who also head abroad due to disenchantment with Europe. There are widespread pockets of racism here. The market simply isn't as free as the US market (both good and bad points there). In the case of the UK, a high crime rate is causing many Britons to feel disenchanted with Blighty (the problem, though bad, is less than it's made out to be).

While I admit to a certain "fish out of water" feeling in the US, I doubt it's particularly worse than many people feel about their home country. And for every person who's called me a traitor (often incoherently) for living abroad, or who mistakenly think that I hate my country because I'm willing to discuss problems with it, well, that's just foolishness I mostly shrug off.

There weren't strong push factors for me; it was a single pull factor. The simple truth: I did it for adventure. Sure, I knew I was going to meet many family members I hadn't known about. I knew I wasn't going to have to worry about health care any more. I knew I wouldn't have to deal with rabid Christians assaulting me (three times!) because my beliefs were different. That wasn't the reason I left.

I left for my dream road trip to Corsica. I moved so I could enjoy my first flat abroad and experience foreign culture firsthand. I moved abroad to enjoy the food. I left for adventure. That's all. I've had it in spades and wound up with a lovely wife and daughter to boot.

Don't give up your dreams.

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you either want to leave your home country or go to another (push and pull, remember?) Tell us why!

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